Gambia will be without the service of goal-trigger happy Ibrahima Sawaneh against the Elephants of Ivory Coast, Foroyaa Sports can reveal. The 26-year-old will not be available for selection due to 'personal problems', according to Gambia national team manager Luciano Mancini. The former Lech Poznan, SK Beveren and OH Leuven sensation has scored seventeen league goals - a sparkling scoring prowess that is showing no sign of abating.
The 17- career league goals throw the hat of the Gambian in the ring for the Belgium golden boot gong. Sawaneh, OH Leuven's price asset, trails league top goal-poacher Colombia's Bacca by a slender three goals. But with this appealing goal scoring record enough to earn Ibou a call-up to the Scorpion squad, Mancini will be dealt a fatal blow with the absence of the huge attacker. "Sawaneh will not come because of personal problems for the Gambia game against Ivory Coast," the 60-year-old Mancini told Foroyaa Sports yesterday at the GFA headquarters.
The Perugia-born Scorpions boss, who has one Italy regional league title under his belt, will be left with three permanent strikers as a result, namely Momodou Ceesay, Ousman Jallow and Demba Savage -as active players at club level. Sawaneh has himself been condemned to the Scorpion substitutes' bench under former Coach Paul Put but it was Mancini who propelled him to the headlines due to his free scoring form which inevitably caught the gaffer's attention. With an average of two goals in five games, the ex- Frankfurt ace has comparably a better scoring statistic among Gambian strikers including midfielder-turned forward captain Mustapha Toubabo Jarju and Demba Savage, the closest to march such a feat after netting fifteen times last season. 'Likely available for return leg' While less knee on naming specific date for Sawaneh's return, the Italian believes Ibou maybe in line to play for the return -leg of the Ivory Coast duel in Banjul billed for 16th June. "(He) maybe available for match return (leg) Ivory Coast" the coach observes. Paul Put was rumoured to have fallen out with the OHL forward primarily for allegedly repeatedly overlooking him with Ousman Jallow and Momodou Ceesay the Belgian's ideal men up in attack. Gambia plays the first match in Abidjan for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and the country's hopes to qualify could be up in smokes if they fail to breeze past Tanzania, Morocco and the Ivory Coast.